Falcons v Irish Preview


By Falconsfan07
September 26 2017

Here it is, my last Newcastle Falcons game for three months. I’ve picked a good time to go away haven't I! I'm absolutely blessed to be going away next week, but a part of me is gutted inside that I won't be there to continue to back the boys on the fantastic start to the season they have given us. Let's give them a fantastic backing on Friday, and show how much they mean to us, and how proud they are doing the regions of the North East.

Newcastle Falcons go into Round 5 of the Premiership in joint 4th place, having only lost once. The competitiveness of the league continues to grow as it is the first time in Premiership Rugby history that no teams had won all their games after three rounds. The competition from top to bottom is what makes it the best league competition in the world in my humble opinion, anyone can win on their day, and if you aren't at the races mentally, teams will be sure to rack up a lot of points against you.

Newcastle will have to be on their toes this Friday when London Irish come to town, although Irish sit 11th in the premiership with just 1 win and 5 points to their name, they have had a habit of causing teams problems in the later stages of games, and have always seemed to finish strong.

The lowdown on London Irish

A lot has changed at London Irish since they reached the Premiership final where they came runners up. From there on it just seemed to go on a downward curve for the club, finishing, 6th in the next season, then 7th the season after then 9th and so on leading them into the doldrums of the table with clubs like ours, Worcester and Gloucester and eventually and inevitably 2 seasons ago, to relegation.

I hated seeing Irish go down, just because of how much passion their fans bring to this league. They are a joyful and brilliant bunch to watch a rugby game with, and always back their team really well away from home.

Back to the club, which is now run by the youngest Director of rugby in the Premiership; Nick Kennedy, only 35. Kennedy started out at Irish in 2001 and spent 11 years playing for the club before moving to Toulon and then Harlequins, then retiring in 2014. Kennedy returned to the club in the summer of 2014 taking up a role as academy coach, but was appointed Director of Rugby in 2016 after Tom Coventry's departure and the club’s relegation.

Now at the helm, Kennedy who is trying to instil a culture at Irish that reflected himself as a person, hard-working, relentless, and a solid team culture where guys are willing to fight for each other, and are willing to push themselves to the physical limits for the cause of premiership survival. And from my view, I can already see things falling into place. They had a storming season in the Championship, losing only one league game away to Jersey, and looked like a strong robust unit defensively against Harlequins in Round 1. While taking some batterings since then at Sale & Exeter, they struggled to compete with Saints on Sunday, but finished strongly picking up a try bonus point.

Irish's last game and how Newcastle can look to exploit Irish.

Saints opened the scoring last game through Nic Groom, after Irish struggled to contain Tuala and North who cut them to pieces on the outside down the right and side, before Burrell put Groom over the try line.

Things didn't get much better for Irish. From a line-out, Australian centre Rob Horne hit a hard line off Groom, catching out Mckibbin and Blair Cowan to score under the posts. If Irish do not sort out their first phase defence, Juan Pablo Socino could exploit the 10-12 channel and make a lot of meters through there. We could really get on the front foot, as they struggled to contain Saints players at times.

Now 14-0 up, Saints worked into the Irish 22 again, and again Rob Horne after receiving a wide flat ball from Mallinder beat 3 defenders to score his second try down the left hand side. If we can stretch the Irish defence and keep the ball alive from the contact area with our offloading game and keep Blair Cowan away from the ball, we could cause a lot of damage. 24-3 at half time.

Irish responded beautifully in the second half with a great solo effort from winger Alex Lewington to score in the left hand corner. We need to be wary of him, and not give him space to move on the outside. Chris Harris at 13 will have another busy days work.

Irish finished strongly, scoring two more tires through Bell and Mcnally, but failed to pick any points at the Madjeski. Final score 25-40 to Northampton. After last weeks game against Exeter where they conceded 40- points, defence is a big weakness for them so hopefully our boys can exploit that, they did look strong against Harlequins in round 1 and can cause damage if their strike runners get clean ball and space to run in.

My side to Face Irish.

No changes from last week. I think Takulua may be injured but Stuart has looked fantastic so far, causing opposition all sorts of problems. Juan Pablo Socino should retain the 12 shirt, looking the more impressive centre than Matavesi in my opinion, offers more go forward in the contact area, and pulled off some sublime offloads on Saturday. Looked really explosive.

1. Rob Vickers
2. Santi Chopper Socino
3. Jon Welsh
4. Calum Green
5. Will Witty
6. Mark Wilson
7. Will Welch
8. Nili Latu
9. Sam Stuart, assuming Takulua not fit
10. Craig Willis
11. DTH Van Der Mwerve
12. JPS
13. Chris Harris
14. Niki Goneva
15. Simon Hammersly

16. Scotty Lawson
17. Sami Mavinga
18. Trevor Davidson
19. Sean Robinson
20. Ally Hogg
21. Rudriah Dawson
22. Joel Hodgson
23. Josh Matevasi

Lets make the south stand rock! Safe travels up to any Irish fans.

COYF!

pqs: qs:
Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: FalconsRugby.org.uk (IP Logged)
Date: 26/09/2017 20:23

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Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
Date: 26/09/2017 21:07

Just watched the highlights again and realised Irish didn't get a losing bonus point. My bad!

Nalanga, the winger they signed from clermont might be a handful too.

Trevieranus will most likely run hard at the 9-10 all night but I'm sure Welch and Latu will put in some good shots on the night too!

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Osric (IP Logged)
Date: 26/09/2017 21:08

Might Mermoz and Flood be fit? Our props will need some back up some time, too.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
Date: 26/09/2017 21:15

Quote:
Osric
Might Mermoz and Flood be fit? Our props will need some back up some time, too.

They've might indeed, Harris has played every game and could be due a rest, Mermoz will need an impressive game if he does start sav Charris has been class.

Even if Flood is fit I think Willis deserves another start after is performance at Bath, I'm sure Flood would get an amazing reception from the KP faithful off the bench tho.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Hugo.LI (IP Logged)
Date: 26/09/2017 22:16

Irish fan in peace!
Really impressed by you guys this season, especially the win over barf! Quite worried by this game as Newcastle is a tough place to go especially after 3 demoralising losses! Always enjoy talking to your fans but unfortunately can't get up there Friday, might be a good one to miss however! For those interested here's what team i think the coaches will go with
Elrington
Paice
Franks
Mcnally
De chaves
Schatz
Cowan
Treviranus
Steele
Marshall
Nalaga
Williams
Tikorituma
Lewington
Bell

Faingaa
Du Plessis
Hoskins
Van de merve
Gilsenan
Meehan
Tonks
Ojo

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Falcons_Thunder (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 11:05

Irish are a great club and I hope they stay up.... but this has to be a five point game if we are to prove our credentials as a top 6 team. I would keep the same 15 as last week as they were terrific at times. And if flood and mermoz are fit put them on the bench for some much needed game time

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: lizard118 (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 11:48

Talk of 5 pointers I find disrespectful of your opponent. I think it's a bonus, but much rather we aim to win the game.
Quite a bit of talk of 5 pointers on the Bath thread prior to playing us, and we know what happened there.
But agree I would also keep the 15 who started at Bath.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Monkey1 (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 12:15

We have the pleasure of Mr Tempest on the whistle for this game, assisted by Hamish Smales & Peter Allan running touch. Keeping warm in front of the telly is Stuart Terheege.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: mannin (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 12:30

Think i'd bench at least one of Welsh/Vickers. They've had a pretty heavy start.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Bedlington Lad (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 13:28

Just win baby (pinched from Al Davies Oakland Raiders former
owner)

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: aidanb (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 13:46

Quote:
lizard118
Talk of 5 pointers I find disrespectful of your opponent. I think it's a bonus, but much rather we aim to win the game.
Quite a bit of talk of 5 pointers on the Bath thread prior to playing us, and we know what happened there.
But agree I would also keep the 15 who started at Bath.

I always tend to think we should take each game as it comes and not look at finishing positions etc.

For me that even includes just respecting what is in front of us and doing our best to get the win. End of

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 14:12

Quote:
aidanb
Quote:
lizard118
Talk of 5 pointers I find disrespectful of your opponent. I think it's a bonus, but much rather we aim to win the game.
Quite a bit of talk of 5 pointers on the Bath thread prior to playing us, and we know what happened there.
But agree I would also keep the 15 who started at Bath.

I always tend to think we should take each game as it comes and not look at finishing positions etc.

For me that even includes just respecting what is in front of us and doing our best to get the win. End of

What youse said, you don't deserve or have the right to anything in this league, you have to work for it, we should go into every game looking to take the win and go from there.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: dick g (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 15:04

WWW

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Monkey1 (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 17:48

I would hope that we were targeting this as a 5 pointer, and LI doing the same.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Rafpilot2000 (IP Logged)
Date: 27/09/2017 20:01

It's nice to be positive going into these matches and even think to mention the hallowed 5 points. Probably a bit hopeful as Irish have a point to prove and have a good team. I reckon not losing is a result and anything else is a bonus.
However a couple more wins and we will probably have avoided relegation this year and then every point thereafter is a step closer to the top 6. I think we have been on the losing end enough to enjoy our wins, unlike Bath who seem to expect it.
What I do find arrogant though is when we play teams and it's assumed that our wins are down to the other team playing badly rather than accepting that we are a pretty decent team at present.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Griff (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 10:43

No disrespect taken, as said above, I'd hope both teams were aiming for a 5 point win.

I'm genuinely pleased for Falcons uprising in the past few seasons, what's most pleasing about it is that it seems to be done "right" i.e. pick players that work for you within a reasonable budget and train as a squad. How ever it was done it does seem to be working and that's pleasing.

That's not going to stop me hoping we take the wheels off your racing chariot tomorrow but that's to be expected.

Nice preview - particularly like the understanding of where Irish as a club is and how they got there.

Slight corrections: last week's game was against Sale - the Exeter game was the previous week. Not that it matters the effect was much the same. Although in neither game did we allow 40 points past us (37 and 36... ah, fair enough).

Good luck for the rest of the season (tomorrow and New Year excepting).

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Falcons_Thunder (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 11:40

15 Alex Tait

14 DTH van der Merwe

13 Chris Harris

12 Juan Pablo Socino

11 Vereniki Goneva

10 Craig Willis

9 Sonatane Takulua

1 Rob Vickers

2 Santiago Socino

3 Jon Welsh

4 Calum Green

5 Will Witty

6 Mark Wilson

7 Will Welch (captain)

8 Nili Latu

Replacements

16 Scott Lawson

17 Sami Mavinga

18 Trevor Davison

19 Sean Robinson

20 Ally Hogg

21 Sam Stuart

22 Joel Hodgson

23 Josh Matavesi

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Falcons_Thunder (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 11:41

Great to see Tait back, himself and bobby are really the unsung heros of the club.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: falconbear (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 11:49

If i could I would take 2 points now! After our excellent start I'd happily watch a very entertaining game tomorrow and leave with a losing and try bonus point or Draw. The Irish are a strong TEAM , nothing like when London Welsh, Brizzle, Wuss came back into the Prem.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Falc Dancer (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 12:07

Really excited for tomorrow night. The lads need to take advantage of this momentum and get the win. In the past this is the type of fixture that we have not turned up for and if we are to progress up the table this is a must win game
Team looks good but where are Flood and Maxine?

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Osric (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 12:13

Glad to see Tait. Irish look strong on paper. This will be a tough game, I think.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Yorksfalcon (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 12:13

I can understand calls for flood and mermoz but who do you drop out of the squad? Joel, metevesi, Harris?? All have had a great start to the season so what kind of message does it send out if they are dropped? They should be eased in with the European games and if the have stormers then Deano could have a bit more justification to the squad in dropping somebody.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: lizard118 (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 12:19

I honestly don't understand the fixation with Flood and Maxime whilst the guys on the pitch are delivering. They will be brought in when ready I'm sure.
In the meantime we have a strong team out more than capable of delivering the goods. If we can match Bath at the Rec, I'm sure we can more than match Irish on our own patch.
Really nice to see some continuity in selection. Guys on the periphery have to play themselves into the team, and that can only be a good thing long term.
Excited to see if Craig Willis is the real deal and replicate his performance against Bath.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: DrV'sHairyCraic (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 12:30

Irish Team:

15 Tommy Bell,
14 Alex Lewington,
13 Aseli Tikoirotuma,
12 Johnny Williams,
11 Napolioni Nalaga,
10 James Marshall,
9 Scott Steele,

1 Ben Franks,
2 David Paice (c),
3 Petrus Du Plessis,
4 Franco van der Merwe,
5 Sebastian De Chaves,
6 Josh McNally,
7 Blair Cowan,
8 Ofisa Treviranus

Replacements:
16 Saia Fainga’a,
17 Harry Elrington,
18 Ollie Hoskins,
19 Teofilo Paulo,
20 Conor Gilsenan,
21 Ben Meehan,
22 Greig Tonks,
23 Tom Fowlie

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: AFalcon24 (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 13:24

Looking like a strong team there come on Falcons!. smiling smiley

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Falc Dancer (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 13:58

Flood and Mermoz are international class players, I think the fixation to have then available and playing is obvious

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: pityacker (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 15:17

I would imagine Flood and Mermoz will be on top salaries and both the players and management wouldn’t have visualised leaving them out when they were recruited however it would be wrong to drop anyone after last week but would expect both of them if fit to be introduced from the bench in the next week or two.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: dick g (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 15:40

Patience can reap great rewards.....

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Marco19819 (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 17:33

I absolutely agree with you. We couldn't ask for any more from the players thus far so why pick them? They are going to need to up their game to get in the team now. That is what is going to make a difference. This way, we won't get a mermoz who is coasting...we will get a mermoz who needs to be at the top of his game. Ditto with flood.

My one concern is the pressure on the prop forwards who have played an awful lot of rugby already. I would have looked at maybe being Sami a start, for example.

I think it is a really important game. The win at bath doesn't mean much if we lose at home to an Irish side that are going to be RABIDLY motivated.

By the way, I wouldn't swap green, witty, taka, cooper or goneva for any other players in the league.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: alas (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 20:27

Don't think the burden on Welsh and Vickers should be too bad. After this opening block of 6 games the rest of the premiership season comes in bite-sized pieces and they can be rested for most of the Anglo Welsh and ECC games.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: NorfolkFalcon (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 20:59

Good side. The back 3 of Tait, Goneva and DTH is the strongest we possess in my opinion and has the ability to cause any team havoc.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: steve1888 (IP Logged)
Date: 28/09/2017 22:34

Agree with Alas, plenty of time to rest Key players in the cup games and chance for some others to put their hands up.

Couldn't be unhappy with the team considering their form and can't wait for the game.

The ref link is great too, saves the missus bothering me with questions.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: rubyrhone (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 09:18

Steve 1888 you should be happy to give your wife the benefit of your vast rugby knowledge

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: lizard118 (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 09:39

I think our scrum will be up against it tonight Irish have Ben Franks, David Paice and Petrus Du Plessis anchoring theirs. Can't see us getting much change there.
Interesting much up with Latu against Treviranus! I can hear the shuddering!

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 09:46

Quote:
lizard118
I think our scrum will be up against it tonight Irish have Ben Franks, David Paice and Petrus Du Plessis anchoring theirs. Can't see us getting much change there.
Interesting much up with Latu against Treviranus! I can hear the shuddering!

Latu will be relishing that battle.

I remember when we played Northampton at KP in the prem last season, Teimana Harrison vs Nili Latu, some of the hits Nili put in on him where colossal and borderline illegal! Could hear the connection at the back of the Southstand

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: lizard118 (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 09:56

That's a subplot to the game itself Ff07.
Latu is getting back to his warrior best. Another who has been unlucky with injuries and was not the same player last season.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: dick g (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 10:03

Come on you Warriors!

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: falconsfan07 (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 10:15

Quote:
lizard118
That's a subplot to the game itself Ff07.
Latu is getting back to his warrior best. Another who has been unlucky with injuries and was not the same player last season.

I agree, hes been fantastic in every game this season, absolute warrior in defence.

I have noticed he's quite crafty with his running lines as he runs quite close to the referee and uses him as a blocker sometimes, crafty play but also effective for getting you on the front foot and preventing the oppo from smashing you!

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Ozzy3213 (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 10:27

Irish fan in peace

Latu is a cracking player, so intelligent as well as powerful. For us playing against you I would say dealing with him and Takulua is key, as those two guys really make you tick.

Good luck for tonight and the season, for a whole number of reasons it's great to see you guys going well and kicking on from being the relegation battle.

Here's hoping for a great game tonight.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: GeordieFalcon (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 11:12

Dont underestimate Craig Willis either Ozzy. He's developing nicely and showed some lovely game management and creativity at times last weekend at Bath.

Speaking of Latu, Simon Uzokwe looks like he's taking lessons in physicality from Latu. Was bruising on Monday night.

One to watch

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: Ozzy3213 (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 11:26

We'll not be underestimating anyone GF, we are not in any position to be doing that. My thinking is more around if we stop Latu and Takulua then we should in theory have to worry less about what the guys from 10-15 are capable of doing.

Re: Falcons v Irish Preview
Posted by: GeordieFalcon (IP Logged)
Date: 29/09/2017 11:53

Im sure Tait, DTH, Goneva, JP and his Brother, Mark Wilson etc hope your lads go out thinking that aswell smiling smiley

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